Waiting for the ferry to depart from Red Hook will get a lot more comfortable when the Urman Victor Fredericks Marine Terminal opens on Tuesday, September 25.
More than two years after construction on the facility began, its scheduled opening will be marked with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. Passenger traffic will begin flowing through the marine terminal later that afternoon.
Although the building appeared to be complete for several months before the opening was scheduled, several minor kinks were being worked out, explained V.I. Port Authority spokesperson Marc Stridiron.
“The building may have looked structurally complete, but there were things that needed to happen internally, like phone hookup and electrical hookups,” said Stridiron. “All of those things needed taken care of, and really the only work that remains is for the actual move-in of the tenants. The contractor is going through the punch list, completing some minor tasks.”
Vendors moving into the building include the ferry companies who operate from the dock in Red Hook, food vendors and gift kiosks, explained Stridiron.
“The ferry companies will each have counter space as well as an office behind the counter space, similar to an airport, only smaller,” he said. “The three food vendors are proprietors of the trucks which used to be outside, and some gift kiosks are waiting for approval. An informational display by one of the hotels is also waiting for approval, and there will be a bar inside.”
$10.2 Million Project Cost
The new building, named for St. Thomas native Urman Victor Fredericks, a pioneer of the marine industry, cost approximately $10.2 million. A grant for $1.5 million from the Federal Economic Development Administration covered part of the cost, along with $2.5 million from a Federal Highway Administration GARVEE bond. The remainder of the project was covered by VIPA capital project funds, according to Stridiron.
The experience of waiting for ferries departing from Red Hook will change entirely once the new facility is open, explained Stridiron.
“The opening of the terminal is going to completely transform the passenger experience for those traveling to and from St. Thomas,” he said. “The terminal is very large and spacious, and even with the large amount of people who go through there every single day, I don’t think it’ll ever really feel congested. Once the food and beverage operators are up and running, it will make for a very nice place where people can wait pleasantly for their vessels to come and go.”
Although the interior of the open-air building is not air conditioned, its waterfront location affords constant breezes which will keep the marine terminal cool, Stridiron added.